CORDIS - EU research results

Enabling CLimate Information Services for Europe - ECLISE

Final Report Summary - ECLISE (Enabling CLimate Information Services for Europe - ECLISE)

Executive Summary:
The awareness that the climate is changing has raised concerns world-wide on safety of lives and goods against weather extremes. Infrastructures that protect against extreme weather, or those that are sensitive to it, have to be adapted to accommodate the climate of the coming decades. Examples are river dikes, city water management systems and energy plants. These are costly investments that require the best information available on present and future weather extremes and their probabilities to support beneficial policies. This information is available from climatology and climate science. Past experience on climate adaptation shows that it is non-trivial to get the right information from science to decision makes. This information transfer is known as climate services. ECLISE, aims to bridge this gap by developing and demonstrating local climate services to support climate adaptation policies across Europe.
The main goals of ECLISE are to develop local climate services and to make concrete demonstrations of the utility of these services in support of climate adaptation. The project also serves as a stepping stone for the realization of coordinated climate services on a European level.
The ECLISE project has provided information on current and future climate conditions for a range of local applications across different sectors and regions in Europe. For a total of 26 use cases, the need for climate information of local users has been identified. These users have been identified at the start of the project and invited to participate in dialogues with climate scientists to steer the development of the services. The two-way communication between users and climate scientists has been studied resulting in a number of recommendations for best practises in user-engagement for climate services.
Climate services have been developed, responding to the identified needs, and based on the latest insights and models of climate science. The use cases covered four sectors within Europe that have been identified as being especially vulnerable to climate variability and change. These sectors are: coastal protection, urban governance, water (flooding, availability) and renewable energy production.
The use cases addressed for the most part local issues in several regions across Europe: Crete, cities in Greece, agricultural regions, rivers and cities in Romania, Sicily, the Italian Alps, coastal regions in Germany, the Netherland and Norway, cities in The Netherlands and England, rivers and cities in North Sweden and Norway. A limit number of tasks in ECLISE have addressed climate adaptation issue on the European scale, one on water resources and one on energy production.
The use cases have been supplied with data on future climate from the latest versions of global and regional climate models. The model experts in ECLISE have supported the use of model data for the use cases and have analysed the usability of highly experimental (decadal) climate predictions one to ten years in the future. Also, state-of-the-art, high-resolution weather models have been adapted for use in future climate conditions for tow use case (Crete and Rotterdam).
The experiences of ECLISE, and its sister project CLIMRUN, have been brought together in a expert workshop resulting in a set of recommendations for the development of useful climate services in Europe. These recommendations cover user interaction, scientific basis and credibility and organizational structure, taking the current European programs on climate services into account.

Project Context and Objectives:
Climate and climate change has high impact on society. Better understanding and improved prediction skills of future weather and climate is vital to protect lives, goods and infrastructures. Different sectors of society and infrastructure are more or less designed to accommodate the current level of climate variability. The prospect of a changing climate necessitates adapting these designs. To prevent high costs, it is of paramount importance that the most reliable and accurate climate information is used to underpin the development of new adaptation strategies.
The provision of this information is an very active field of science in which the current climate, its variability and its future evolution are quantified and analysed. Many mechanism are already in place to transfer the scientific knowledge into information which is useable for policy. The IPCC assessments report serve this purpose on the global scale. However, it became clear that the local scale is where the adaption policies have to take effect. It is not so relevant for the government of a low-lying large city close to sea and in close proximity of large rivers to know that the global average temperature will rise with a few degrees. The local government does need information on the rise of the sea level close to the city, on the probability of extreme storm surges, on the probability of low or high river discharge, on extreme temperatures in the summer and on the

“an improvement of the accuracy of climate information needed at local scales according to the current demands on adaptation measures”. ECLISE aims at supporting adaptation measures on the local scale in the four thematic work packages on coasts, cities, water and energy by providing tailor-made information on future climate conditions to, and in close cooperation with, local users that have responsibilities to plan and implement adaptation to climate change. The four themes cover an important subset of European climate change issues. ECLISE will provide an outline for a future, fully-fledged European climate services, covering in principle all climate vulnerabilities. This outline will be based on experiences in the four sectorial themes and on extensive consultation with users and other stakeholders.
ECLISE results will be profitable for climate policies in Europe on local, national and European level. Also, climate research benefits from ECLISE through the development of new applications of climate model results on local scales

Project Results:
The main body of the work in ECLISE was to develop the information and data – climate services - within the 26 use cases. These services have used input data from models and observations. The acquisition, analysis and value-adding of the (mostly local) observations have been done by the partners that develop the services.

The availability and expert advice on model data has been organized centrally in the project in a dedicated work package on Models. This entailed the development, the production of model data and the provision of support within the project on the usage of the model data. This involved:
• facilitating the availability of regional climate model from the FP6 ENSEMBLES project and providing advice on its usage.
• testing the usefulness of the first decadal model run data,
• providing the most recent CMIP5 and CORDEX model runs and
• conducting experiments for two ECLISE use cases on the use of high-resolution weather models to provide insights in future weather extremes.
The development of global and regional climate models within ECLISE was enveloped in larger programmes that prepared climate model data for the 5th IPCCC assessment report: CMIP5 and CORDEX. The specific contributions of the efforts in ECLISE were:
• The value of decadal predictions has been analysed using global climate model hindcasts in different settings. Over specific regions, skill is found in these predictions.
• The first EURO-CORDEX data has been produced and used in several ECLISE use cases.
• High-resolution weather simulations have been performed for three extreme precipitation events on Crete showing that these models are useful to give insight in these kind of events in a warmer climate.

A number of aspects of the user engagement within the project has also been organized centrally. In the first stage of the project users have been connected with the project through dedicated workshops. The requirements for the 26 use cases have been established and documented, providing the framework along which the services have been developed. A mid-term workshop with users has reviewed the results thus far and provided recommendations for the remainder of the work. Close to the end, user surveys have been conducted to collect information on the experience of the user with the ECLISE project. Considering the importance of communicating uncertainty of future climate projects, a guideline has been prepared aimed at users of the ECLISE project and beyond on how to deal with different types of uncertainty that are part of climate change projections. The user survey has resulted in a list of recommendations on the involvement of users and the usability of the services in the development and operation of climate services.

The use cases have all gone through the same sequence: analysis of needs, establishing vulnerabilities with respect to the current climate and future climate projections. A few use cases had to limit the work to the present climate due to various problems with model data. The results of the use cases covered meteorological quantities (mostly precipitation and temperature statistics), impact parameters relevant for the users (e.g. storm surge probabilities, river discharge, nutrient river transport, solar and hydro energy potential), and concrete advice (e.g. operation rules for hydropower operators).

COASTS. The use cases on coastal sectors have provided data, information and advice on sea conditions that are relevant for coastal defence infrastructure in North-west Europe. This included: new estimates for future sea level in the North sea, new insights in the probability of simultaneous flood threats from river and sea, important updates of the coastDat data portal on content and access to data and new insights in future extreme sea level and Atlantic storms along the Norwegian coast. The developments for the coastDat data portal have gone beyond the usage for flood risk defence and also provides tools and data access for a variety of public, scientific and industrial users on maritime applications.

CITIES. The urban use cases mainly focus on flood-risks for which high-resolution precipitation data is generated using historical observations and downscaled climate model runs. The cities in Europe that have been studied are: Baia Mare, Oslo, four cities in Greece, cities in Eastern Sicily, Rotterdam and Stockholm. One urban use case looked at future extreme wind conditions in the UK aimed at safety of electricity transport systems.
The climate of Baia Mare city is projected to become warmer and wetter. A decreasing frequency of cold weather and a greater probability and intensity of hot extremes is also projected. This will lead to an increase of heat stress exposure of the urban population and of the energy demand for cooling.
For Oslo, a three-way nesting model set-up was developed for the simulation of extreme precipitation in the Oslo area.
The task on Greek cities showed that temperature extremes are expected to increase in frequency and magnitude later this century in all 4 Greek cities that have been investigated, especially in Athens. Precipitation extremes will also intensify.
The Sicily use case produced significant improvements on the (extreme) statics of present climate rainfall for Sicily and its future evolution later this century using climate model data.
For the UK, it has been found that future wind damage risk to buildings and electricity infrastructure in the UK is not significantly greater than the current risk. A simulation program has been developed that can be used to generate simultaneous spatially correlated time series estimates of extreme winds throughout Great Britain.
The high-resolution weather model Harmonie has been applied to investigate the effect of a warmer future climate on precipitation extremes in the city of Rotterdam. This has demonstrated the usefulness of this weather model to assess the resilience of (water related) climate change adaptation strategies of the city. The results also showed that the scaling of extreme precipitation with temperature change, as found in observations, is correctly reproduced by the weather model.
A hydrology assessment for Stockholm has been conducted, analysing the differences between climate model data on precipitation with observations. A hydrological-climate model setup, was then used to compute the impact on lake inflow and water levels in the city of Stockholm as well as macronutrient fluxes in Lake Mälaren for mid-century and end-century time slices.

WATER. The water use cases consider water availability, quality and flood risks for several rural regions: the agricultural region of Baragan Plain, the Vrancea region , the basins and sub-basins of the Somes river (all in Romania), Sicily, Crete, NW England, and the region in Sweden under responsibility of the South Baltic Water Authority.
An study on the impacts of climate change on agriculture in the main agricultural area of Romania (Baragan Plain) yielded future changes in temperature and precipitation and the impact on the major crops used in the area.
A study on the impacts of climate change on landslides and floods risks in the Vrancea region showed that the risks increase in the future climate, depending on season and future scenario.
A high- resolution data set of monthly precipitation for Sicily for the 1951-2100 period has been produced. A significant reduction of the total precipitation amount in future decades in Sicily is found, mostly in winter and spring seasons.
For Crete, an increase in water scarcity is projected for all future climate scenarios, demand and infrastructure development. Also, extreme precipitation is expected to increase.
For cities in NW England, an improved approach to model future precipitation statistics is developed, providing a simulation of future climate rainfall suitable for flood hazard modelling.
Changes in riverine nutrient concentrations and fluxes under climate change forcing in southern Sweden are analysed showing increased nutrient concentration due to climate change. The effects of two remedial measures that reduce emissions to water are quantified.
The average flow of the Somes river will change in the future. For the low emission scenario (RCP2.6) a decrease was found and for medium and high scenarios (4.5 and 8.5) an increase up to 24%.

ENERGY. Three use cases dealt with hydropower: the Ume river in Sweden, the Somes river in Romania and the Italian Alps. The use cases provided insights in changes in hydropower potential in these regions. One use case developed a model set-up for the analysis of the future generation of off-shore wind-power in Norway. Two use cases (Sicily and Crete) produced estimates of solar power potential . One use case analysed the future evolution of the demand of energy, for Italy, for different seasons.
The hydropower potential for Ume River Basin, Sweden, is expected to increase by 5-22% due to climate change. Hydropower operators of the Ume river have to change strategies to maintain productivity without compromising the safety of operations.
Due to climate change, a reduction of about 15% in the potential productivity of 4 Enel hydropower plants located in the Cordevole river catchment (Italy, eastern Alps) at the end of the 21st century is expected to occur.
The hydropower energy production in the Fantanele reservoir of the Somes river (Romania) will increase in the spring season, due to climate change.
A model system has been developed and evaluated for the calculation of future and present climate wind speed along the Norwegian coast, aimed at serving off-shore wind energy programs.
High-resolution maps of solar radiation have been produced for Sicily, serving solar energy applications. The data covers a historical (1936-2013) and present/future (1961-2100) period.
Future PV output maps, serving solar energy applications, have been produced for Greece, including Crete. The PV output is projected to increase this century in all regions of Greece, except the region of Attica where a small reduction is projected.
Historic and future high-resolution energy-use maps for Italy have been produced. A strong positive trend in energy demand is demonstrated in the 1990-2013 period and this trend is projected to continue in the future period (2001-2100).

Two pan-European climate services have been developed. One on future water resources and one on future cooling capacity of thermal power generation. The impact of climate change for European water-use sectors has been quantified, focussing on safety, agriculture, energy and environment. Rising river water temperatures in the future climate are expected to have a large effect on the cooling capacity of thermoelectric power production.

The final activities of the projects were aimed to establish some lessons-learned from the ECLISE and CLIMRUN projects on the climate services in Europe. A workshop was held in which the results of these projects have been presented and discussed in the presence of experts, users and other stakeholders, in and outside the projects. The workshop provided recommendations on best practices and user involvement of climate services within Europe. These results have been brought further by combining this with an analysis of existing initiatives on climate services in Europe, and world-wide. This resulted in a list of recommendations on a European framework under which climate services operate.

Potential Impact:
ECLISE has resulted in a set of local climate services across sectors and regions in Europe aimed at local public-body decision makers. The use cases have revealed a variety of usage of climate model runs, of multi-model ensembles, of different statistical downscaling techniques, of model calibration, and processing of model results to usable information for the users. The use cases have revealed the experiences of various ways to interact with local users and with advanced and experienced users. The use cases generated valuable data sets such as maps of sea-state and sea-level, precipitation and temperature for Italy, Crete, Romania, South Sweden, the cities of Rotterdam, Oslo, Bergen and Stockholm for present and projected future climate. The use cases have provided useable data, information and advice for local users that are mandated to make decisions on infrastructure that is vulnerable to climate, to weather extremes, or is in other ways affected by climate. The socio-economic impact of these results is an increased ability to reduce vulnerabilities to climate change for the regions, cities and sectors involved. The climate services support decisions on flood defence, on water management, on urban and coastal planning, on energy generation and energy usage. These climate adaptation measures generally involve large costs, emphasizing the economic importance of high-quality climate services. On the other hand, no or erroneous climate information may lead to inadequate planning and avoidable damages that are often very costly in terms of property or human lives lost.
Apart from the local climate services, ECLISE also provided an analysis of the present organization of climate service initiatives in Europe and a set of recommendations for future initiatives. It is concluded that the introduction of a Climate Service Documentation Center, a single web-based portal where customers easily find their ways through the complex situation of climate service provided in Europe, would considerably help the users community and provide support to climate service providers.

Dissemination of the results have been done by the users in their direct interaction with their local users. All reports have been made publically available through the ECLISE website. The scientific ‘world’ has been informed on the developments and results of ECLISE through conference presentations and posters as detailed in this report below and through 15 peer reviewed papers. A special issue in of the open access Journal Earth Perspective on Climate Services is being prepared now. Papers from the ECLISE and CLIMRUN teams will be submitted for peer review before Nov 1ste 2014 and will describe the results of the projects. Also, contributions from other FP7 projects (Euporias, Specs) and other experts (C. Hewitt) are invited.

What will done with the information and data provided to the users? Will there be a real, valuable outcome of ECLISE in the form of better informed decision making, saving money, goods and even perhaps lives in the future? This appears to vary from user to user. We have good confidence that the services provided for Crete and Romania, on water, safety, agriculture and energy will be used in sectorial - and national climate adaptation policies. This information is often new for these users. Users in north-western European countries have been involved in climate services also before the start of ECLISE and have progressed already further in their analysis and action plan for climate adaptation. However, the England use case on extreme wind for power infrastructure will undoubtedly be followed up because the information is directly useable for operational planning of the energy companies. The maritime data from the coastDat database is being use by a large set of users and they will profit from the improvements done within the ECLISE project. The Dutch Deltaprogramme uses the new estimate for local sea level rise in their plan for improvements of the water safety infrastructure in The Netherlands.

List of Websites:
Dr. Roeland van Oss
P. O. Box 201
3730 AE De Bilt
The Netherlands
Tel. +31 (0)30 2206 439
Fax. +31 (0)30 2210 407